Constitution of India
372. Continuance in force of existing laws and their adaptation.
(1) Notwithstanding the repeal by this Constitution of the enactments referred to in article 395 but subject to the other provisions of this Constitution, all the law in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution shall continue in force therein until altered or repealed or amended by a competent Legislature or other competent authority.
(2) For the purpose of brining the provisions of any law in force in the territory of India into accord with the provisions of this Constitution, the President may by order1 make such adaptations and modifications of such law, whether by way of repeal or amendment, as may be necessary or expedient, and provide that the law shall, as from such date as may be specified in the order, have effect subject to the adaptations and modifications so made, and any such adaptation or modification shall not be questioned in any court of law.
(3) Nothing in clause (2) shall be deemed-
(a) To empower the President to make any adaptation or modification of any law after the expiration of 2[three years] from the commencement of this Constitution; or
(b) To prevent any competent Legislature or other competent authority from repealing or amending any law adapted or modified by the President under the said clause.
Explanation I. The expression “law in force” in this article shall include a law passed or made by a Legislature or other competent authority in the territory of India before the commencement of this Constitution and not previously repealed, notwithstanding that it or parts of it may not be then in operation either at all or in particular areas.
Explanation II. Any law passed or made by a Legislature or other competent authority in the territory of India which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution had extra-territorial effect as well as effect in the territory of India shall, subject to any such adaptations and modifications as aforesaid, continue to have such extra-territorial effect.
Explanation III. Nothing in this article shall be construed as continuing any temporary law in force beyond the date fixed for its expiration or the date on which it would have expired if this Constitution had not come into force.
Explanation IV. An Ordinance promulgated by the Governor of a Province under section 88 of the Government of India Act, 1935, and in force immediately before the commencement of this Constitution shall, unless withdrawn by the Governor of the corresponding State earlier, cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the first meeting after such commencement of the Legislative Assembly of that State functioning under clause (1) of article 382, and nothing in this article shall be construed as continuing any such Ordinance in force beyond the said period.
(i) The expression “all the laws in force” includes not only the enactments of the Indian Legislative but also the common law of the land which was being administered by the courts in India. This includes not only the personal law, viz. the Hindu and Mohammedan laws, but also the rules of the English Common law, e.g., the law of torts as well as customary laws, the rules of interpretation of statutes; Amina (in re:), AIR 1992 Bom 214.
(ii) Article 372 per force does not make a pre-Constitution statutory provision to be constitutional; John Vallamattom v. Union of India, AIR 2003 SC 2902.
1. See the Adaptation of Laws Order, 1950, dated the 26th January, 1950, Gazette of India, Extraordinary, p.449, as amended by Notification No. S.R.O. 115, dated the 5th June, 1950, Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, p.51, Notification No. S.R.O. 870, dated the 4th November, 1950, Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, p.903, Notification No. S.R.O. 508, dated the 4th April, 1951, Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, p.287, Notification No. S.R.O. 1140B, dated the 2nd July, 1952, Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, p.616/I; and the Adaptation of the Travancore-Cochin Land Acquisition Laws Order, 1952, dated the 20th November, 1952, Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, section 3, p.923.
2. Subs. by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951, s. 12, for “two Years”.